Hats off to Charlotte Leavitt, one of the senior volunteers winning the 2019 Joseph D. Vaughan Award, given each year by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Governor Chris Sununu, the state Committee on Aging, and EngAGING NH. Awards are presented each May to one recipient per county, and Charlotte represents Belknap County ably and beautifully. Her involvement with many agencies in the Lakes Region, her advocacy at every level of government and her track record of creating non-profit organizations to solve local problems is a stellar example of good old-fashioned Yankee voluntarism.
In 1998, Charlotte was hired as the Executive Director in Laconia with an agency then known as “Hospice Laconia Area, Inc.” This agency helped to initiate hospice care in Belknap County and was one of the hospice agencies that eventually became part of what is now Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice. When asked about those early days Charlotte remembers the “supervolunteers” involved in hospice, working with then CEO Alida Millham to bring Homecare and Hospice together into one agency to obtain Medicare benefits, and the fun and challenges of making mini boats and floating them down the river as a fundraiser. Charlotte has been involved in Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice for many years…as a staff member, as a Board Member, as a client and now as a volunteer. In fact our annual “Volunteer of the Year” award, the Leavitt/Knight Award, is named for Charlotte and her cohort, the late Doreen Knight, in honor of their passion for hospice and hospice volunteers. Says Lisa Dupuis, Central VNA’s CEO “None of us would be here today without Charlotte. She started our hospice program, and led us through the tough financial times. She is an icon in our community.”
Central cannot imagine anyone more deserving of this honor.